Setting up for jewies
  |  First Published: October 2010

While fishing for jewies from a kayak is no big deal, it is certainly different from your bream and flathead style of yak fishing.

With any sort of water sport, safety is paramount and we should always expect the unexpected. A life jacket should be the first thing to think about when planning any trip on the water and I include when I go rock fishing.

When spending a long time on the water there is nothing worse than wearing a cumbersome, bulky lifejacket. I like to use an inflatable PFD. It’s thin and so light you don’t even know it is on sometimes.


Setting up your kayak to fish for bream, flatties or anything, for that matter, usually means you need to downsize your tackle requirements – fewer rods, lures, gaffs, nets, tackle boxes or bags. You just can’t take as much stuff in a kayak as you can in a boat.

When targeting the bigger species from your yak, a little bit more thought needs go into it. The Scotty range of fishing accessories and rod holders makes fishing for the bigger species a bit less of a worry.

Prior to building my rocket launcher that now allows me to carry a bigger arsenal of rods and reels than any bloke could use in 10 fishing trips, my Scotty Three Way rod holder was superb.

It allowed me to take two rods and troll two hardbody lures and have a third rod set up with a soft plastic, popper or small hardbody. I had all this an arm’s length from me.

There are quite a few reasons I opted for Scotty products. Mainly, all Scotty products fit into a universal base mount and there’s a good variety of fishing aids available.

The rod holders are almost bulletproof and they don’t rust up like a few others I have tried over the years.

My poor wife worries herself silly when I decide to toss hardbodies at night, which I do quite often on the Shoalhaven River. She worries a boat will not see me – and then she won’t!

I fit a Scotty Sea Light into the centre holder of the Three Way and I am lit up like a Christmas tree. This light is US Coast Guard approved, gives 360° visibility and is visible for 2NM and runs for eight hours on two AA batteries. And it is totally waterproof.


The beauty of the rocket launcher is that it allows me to have four more rods set up with different lures. Some might think it is an overkill and ask what happened to downsizing, but if you are fishing gnarly areas like some of those I do you can lose three or four lures a trip and can be spending more time re-rigging than fishing.

The Scotty Three Way is a very practical piece of fishing equipment.

It allows me to have my pliers and scissors at my fingertips on the ‘parcel tray’, a handy shelf that runs across in front of me. With any tools I use on my yak, I attach a piece of thin shock cord to eliminate the chance of losing it should I drop it.

The parcel tray allows me to keep my tools at arm’s reach and if I choose to swap lures, I can just hang a few in the holes moulded into the holder. This also stops me putting wet lures into my tackle box, thus helping to prevent rusting.


Because sometimes the jewies can come in jumbo size, a gaff is another important item to have on board. When fishing with 4kg and 6kg braid and 6kg to 10kg leader, there is not too much room for error and mucking around trying to gill or lip grip a struggling jew with light line is too risky.

A gaff subdues the fish and allows you to have control of it in seconds. The little gaff I use is a top quality one made by Gaff Man; it is only small at 600mm but is strong.

I always take an old towel and once gaffed, I lift the jew onto my lap where I can then secure it with my fish cord.


The fish leash consists of about 10m to 15m of venetian blind cord with a piece of coat hanger wire at one end and a large boat fender or other large float at the other.

Once the fish is on my lap, I then feed the wire through its gills and out its mouth. I then tie off the wire end and throw the fish back into the water.

It floats back down the cord and is supported by the fender or float. This keeps the fish cool and fresh and does not clutter up the kayak and allows me to keep fishing.

In saying this, I have lip-gaffed jewfish and when I have gone to pull them onto my kayak to paddle home, I have found them to be alive and kicking and have released them and seen them swim off.

It is quite funny when a boat comes up behind you and they see this boat fender floating on the water and a jewfish attached to it. Their curiosity gets to them and they motor over, only to find it attached to my yak. “Oops, sorry mate!” is the standard reply.


I would rather fish for jewies from my yak with lures rather than bait. It allows me to cover more water as I drift and gives me more options.

I can troll my bigger Rapala XRaps, flick smaller hardbodies or cast soft plastics and cover a heap more water than if I were anchored up.

I started off fishing for jew with 130mm soft plastics with various sizes and colours of jig heads. I tried all makes and colours and they all caught fish.

Over the past few years I have not been able to fault the Squidgy Slick Rigs in 100mm and 110mm in black and gold. The way the Slick Rigs are made stops the jig head pulling away from the body of the lure – no more Super Glue!

In my bait fishing days I always chased jewfish with heavy gear but since I turned to soft plastics, I fish with 4kg to 6kg braid with 6kg and 10kg fluorocarbon trace.

I use a 7’ Wilson Blade and Tails medium spin stick with a Shimano Sustain 2500 threadline.

Remember, going light can be a lot of fun and you can still catch big fish as well.

• Any products mentioned are here solely on their merits and I receive nothing from any of the companies involved.

Hobie launcher can be done

In the March issue I did a piece on building your own rocket launcher for your kayak from poly pipe. I mentioned that a lot of yaks had different angles on their built-in rod holders.

Since that article, I have had quite a few guys with Hobies tell me the Hobie’s built in rod holders had too critical an angle to make a rocket launcher like mine.

The holder does throw the poly pipe out at a very wide angle but with a bit of thought and great care it is not impossible to make the pipes parallel. The trick is not to kink the pipe when bending it.

The one I helped my mate Ron Hartland fit to his tandem Hobie looks a treat. The bends Ron and I achieved are quite smooth and look as though the pipe was made with the bends in it. Mind you, I messed up the first attempt!

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